Paul Greengrass to Write & Direct MLK Biopic

Paul Greengrass To Write & Direct MLK Biopic

I’m late. I’m late. I know that. But read on anyway …

Writer-director Paul Greengrass, he of the Jason Bourne films, is planning a Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic entitled Memphis. The film will trace the events leading up to the assassination of King on April 4, 1968. Producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network) is supposedly interested in bringing the project to Focus Features.

Greengrass has already written the screenplay, based on his own research, and takes a look King’s efforts to organize the city’s sanitation worker before his murder. From Vulture:

By the spring of 1968, King’s personal and professional lives were in disarray: His marriage was faltering; he was chain-smoking, boozing, and packing on the pounds. King’s outspokenness on the Vietnam War cost him his relationship with President Johnson, and his newfound interest in labor organization and the urban poor put him on the fringes of the rising Black Power movement.

I’ll be taking a keen interest in this as Memphis is my hometown and I’m very knowledgeable about the Civil Rights Movement and King’s work and impact on Memphis, in particular.

If there’s one small qualm I have, it’s that no black filmmaker picked up the mantle on this project before Greengrass. It’s kinda like how Spike Lee felt when Steven Spielberg directed The Color Purple—white filmmakers telling “our” stories with very little input from “us.”

What are your thoughts on the proposed MLK film?


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